It’s a Celebration………….

So today is not only Friday

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and the first day of spring,

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which I think we all know, but also the 2nd Annual International Day of Happiness (yes, it’s a thing)

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and also The Great American Meat Out day (though I am posting that a little late in the day for those of us on eastern time, especially).

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So let’s all celebrate with some TGIF cheer of choice, knowledge that the seasons have changed (even if it is snowing where you are–it’s bound to be over VERY soon)–lots of smiles and laughter and a meatless meal or two (depending upon what time you read this)…

So much to celebrate!  Enjoy it all…and the weekend!

 

All Fridays are Lucky!

Good morning and welcome to your Friday the 13th!  I think black cats are beautiful and I have never yet found them to be bad luck…just another case of animals getting a bad rap!!

Even though I haven’t been blogging often, I have been trying to get on here on Thursdays to honor Vegan (Feast) Thursday, but yesterday was a busy day and so here it is Friday.  I have to say that I am so happy about the amount of people that have been telling me they are trying to eat plant-based diets as well as asking questions about recipes, different foods, etc.  This makes me happy because it’s always a win-win-win situation for the people, the animals and the environment!

While there are TONS of great vegan cookbooks (and I do think I have them ALL!) and lots of great info online, I have to say that I have really been enjoying, and highly recommend, the book Jolene sent me during the holidays.  It is called VEGAN’S DAILY COMPANION by Collen Patrick-Goudreau and I recommend this highly.  If a plant-based diet and lifestyle is new to you, or if you have been living the compassionate life forever, this book will still be of great interest.  It is chock full of great stories about people and animals, recipes, perspectives and so much more.

I haven’t made Shepherd’s pie since the feast days, but with St. Patty’s day approaching, it’s a perfect one, so I am reposting:  It looks like a lot of work, but it’s not at all difficult–just need a little time, but can prepare in advance……….

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VEGAN SHEPHERD’S PIE

For the beef mixture:

1/2 cup of chopped onions

1/2 cup chopped carrots

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 tablespoon chopped garlic

1/2 pound vegan beef crumbles (I use more!)

1 cup fresh or frozen green peas

1 cup vegan vegetable broth

1 and 1/2 teaspoons chopped, fresh thyme

1 teaspoon pepper

1-2 teaspoons salt (check sodium in the crumbles)

Saute the onions and carrots in oil for 5-7 minutes, or until onions soften.  Add the garlic and cook 2 more minutes.  Add all remaining ingredients and simmer 10 minutes adding more broth as needed to allow cooking time.

For the Potatoes:

1 and 1/2 pounds baking potatoes (I use more!) peeled and roughly diced

1 tablespoon salt

1/2 cup vegan butter

3 tablespoons soy milk, or as needed (I use MUCH more)

salt and pepper to taste

Boil the potatoes with the salt and cook about 20 minutes or until fork tender.  Drain well, mash and fold in butter.  Add soy milk as needed to create a firm, yet creamy texture.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

For the Pie:

The beef and potatoes from above

2-3 tablespoons vegan butter

1 tablespoon paprika

1 tablespoon chopped chives or parsley (I just used a little more thyme)

Preheat the oven to 375 F

Place all the beef mixture in a 1 and 1/2 quart casserole dish (I use a large meatloaf/bread pan).  Top with all the potatoes.  Place small dollops of butter evenly across the top of the casserole.  Sprinkle paprika over top and bake for 20-25 minutes until slightly browned on top and well heated through.   I put the oven on broil for the last 5 minutes and it really made for a beautiful presentation.   Sprinkle with herbs to garnish and serve immediately.  This recipe makes about 5 servings.

Have a great Friday and remember, if you are lucky enough to see a black cat today, it’s all good!!!

RIP Sam Simon, Writer, Director, Producer and HERO!

RIP Sam Simon, co-creator of the amazing “Simpsons.”  While the name Matt Groening is rather well know, it was along with James L. Brooks and Simon, that the Simpsons came alive.  Though Simon left the show in 1993, he held onto an executive producer title that earned him tens of millions of dollars a year.  https://sp.yimg.com/ib/th?id=HN.608040457622981048&pid=15.1&P=0

Wanting to distance himself from television, Simon found his calling in philanthropy.  In 2002 he created the Sam Simon Foundation.  On six acres, in Malibu, stray and abused dogs are rescued and retrained.  In 2011 he expanded his efforts to include the Feeding Families program, which delivers vegan food to 200 needy families a day!

Diagnosed with colon cancer in 2012 and given 3-6 months to live, Simon donated the bulk of his fortune to his charities.  “Everything the Sam Simon Foundation does is supposed to help dogs and people.  The truth is, I have more money than I’m interested in spending.  Everyone in my family is taken care of.  And I enjoy this,” Simon told the Hollywood Reporter in 2013.

Simon passed away on Sunday at 59 years old but clearly his legacies will continue to amuse, entertain and most importantly contribute to the betterment of people and dogs each and every day.   While this family has always been a huge fan of the Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie, I came to love the show even more after learning about Simon’s Foundation after his diagnosis.  RIP Mr. Simon and thank you for your amazing contributions to our planet.

Still More Compassionate Communication….

And here’s another chance to have more compassionate communication:

Why do we say “It’s no use beating a dead horse?”  I like the suggestion of instead saying, “It’s no use watering a dead flower.”  Horses are some of the most beautiful animals in the world and just the THOUGHT of beating one, dead or alive, evokes such sad emotions and ugly visuals.

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Yesterday I was sharing some thoughts with an old public school friend/neighbor about the journey of living on a plant-based diet.  We were discussing how the journey may start for one reason but the more aware we become, the more reasons we find.  To further emphasize this point, I would like to share a quote from the Vegan’s Daily Companion.  This one comes from Wayne in Texas who was raised on farms as was his wife.  His family was in the hog industry and her’s in the beef industry.  In his 30s he received a tragic diagnosis of sudden cardiac death syndrome (was revived and had a defib implanted).  Almost a decade later his was was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy and given 2 years to live.  He goes on to say…”I went full-on vegan and at last healthy check my heart was found to be healthy and no damage from the past trauma was apparent.  I now prepare my wife’s food.  Her health has improved and she now only has to wear her oxygen at night.  Soon she will have another heart function study and I know it will show improvement.  As I did more research, I became overwhelmed by grief for all the victims of the slaughterhouse industry.  I didn’t want to become a tree-hugging vegan; I only wanted to save my wife.  But I have had an awakening that I never expected.”

Once again, I urge anyone with health problems to consider what they are eating!  This is NOT only about animal products.  I have so many students who complain about joint problems and they all use artificial sweeteners…Why not try just cutting them out for 30 days and see??  Also turmeric is a great spice to help combat inflammation and can be used fresh, dried or even in a pill form.  I also recently learned that the 3 main instigators of diarrhea are–coffee, dairy and artificial sweeteners.  I know that one hits home with many–a cup of coffee with a little milk and some splenda and you have inside yourself your very own chemistry lab!

I never want to preach…I really don’t.  I just want to share information that I stumble upon because I am so interested in nutrition/health/fitness.  I hope you always read my entries knowing that is where they are coming from and that today, on Vegan (feast) Thursday, you will consider not only a meatless meal or 2 or 3, but also the scientific correlations between what you are ingesting and how that is effecting your health.  Namaste…………….